January Newsletter – 10.01.2022


Future Minerals Forum Behre Dolbear newsletter 04.01.2022

Behre Dolbear will be attending the Future Minerals Forum in Riyadh, 11-13 January 2022.
Please come and visit us at our booth, or if you would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Mario Guedes +973 3838 2369.


  • JV Article: Saudi Arabia hosts inaugural Future Minerals Forum
  • Kazakhstan uranium output unaffected by unrest
  • South32, Alcoa to restart Alumar aluminum smelter in Brazil
  • Adani wins key coal tender as India acts to avoid energy crisis
  • BHP to invest $50m to advance Tanzania nickel project
  • Indonesia revokes more than 2,000 mining and plantation permits
  • Peru sees 60% increase in mining tax revenues
  • Electric cars to account for 73% of lithium demand by 2030: Chile

JV Article: Saudi Arabia hosts inaugural Future Minerals Forum

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Maaden’s Mahd Ad Dahab gold mine in Medina, Saudia Arabia. Credit: Maaden.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is hosting the first Future Minerals Forum. The forum, which runs between 11-13 January in Riyadh, was created to address two of the most pressing concerns facing the world today: (1) access to the critical minerals needed to drive the circular carbon economy of the future, and (2) a more stable, reliable supply of these minerals.

As countries switch to green energy networks and transportation systems, demand for copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements is soaring. The average electric car, for example, uses six times more minerals than a conventional car, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite are crucial to batteries. Electric systems require vast amounts of copper and aluminium, and rare earth elements are needed for the magnets used in wind turbines.

However, these metals are vulnerable to shortages and price volatility because their supply chains are often opaque, the quality of available deposits is declining, and mineral exploration and mining companies face more stringent Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards.

Limited access to known mineral deposits is also hindering the global transformation to greener, more sustainable economies and societies. The IEA says that three countries currently control more than 75% of the global supply of lithium, cobalt, and rare earth elements. The Democratic Republic of Congo produced 70% of global cobalt output in 2019. That same year, China was responsible for 60% of rare earth elements production and refined 50% to 70% of lithium and cobalt and nearly 90% of rare earth elements. Australia is the other major player.


Kazakhstan uranium output unaffected by unrest

The world’s largest uranium producer, Kazatomprom, remains unaffected by the ongoing turmoil in the Central Asian state of Kazakhstan.

“Uranium mining is going according to plan, there have been no stoppages,” a Kazatomprom spokesperson said. “The company is fulfilling its export contracts.”

Uranium prices have spiked to $45.50 per pound, the highest since November 30, as protests and security crackdowns spread across the country.

Uranium prices have risen after unrest in Kazakhstan which was spurred initially by protests against fuel price hikes.

But the central Asian country’s political turmoil does not seem to have so far affected key industries.

“Uranium mining is going according to plan there have been no stoppages. The company is fulfilling its export contracts,” a Kazatomprom spokesperson said.

The widespread protests initially started in the oil-rich west of the country in response to rising prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which many Kazakhs use to power their cars. The protests have now grown to include critics of Kazakhstan’s long autocratic rule.


South32, Alcoa to restart Alumar aluminum smelter in Brazil

Australian diversified miner South32 Ltd said on Thursday it would spend about $70 million to restart the Alumar aluminium smelter in Brazil with its joint venture partner Alcoa Corp.

The smelter, which has been on care and maintenance since 2015, is a part of South32’s Brazil Alumina operations, which also include a share in the country’s largest bauxite mine and a refinery.

South32 said its 40% share of Alumar will be entirely powered by renewable energy as it is restarted over 2022 and 2023.

“We see strong long-term market fundamentals for aluminium. By investing along our existing alumina-aluminium value chain, we are… meaningfully increasing our share of metal produced utilising green energy,” Chief Executive Officer Graham Kerr said in a statement.

First production from the smelter is expected in the June quarter. South32 anticipates output of 5,000 tonnes this year and 140,000 tonnes next year from its share of the operation.


Adani wins key coal tender as India acts to avoid energy crisis

Adani Enterprises Ltd. has won a contract to supply overseas coal to India’s top electricity generator as the nation aims to avoid a repeat of last year’s energy crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.

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NTPC Ramagundam, the first ISO 14001 certified “Super Thermal Power Station” in India

Adani, India’s largest trader of imported thermal coal, will deliver 1 million tons to state-run NTPC Ltd., which in October issued its first tender for coal imports in more than two years, the people said, requesting anonymity as the details are still private.

Kolkata-based Damodar Valley Corp. Ltd., also state-owned, is examining a proposal from Adani for the supply of the same volume to its power plants, the people said.

Adani, NTPC and DVC didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.

Indian power producers are under pressure to bolster coal stockpiles after supply disruptions and rising demand left the country grappling with shortages in the second half of 2021, leading to outages in some provinces and curbs on energy-hungry industries.


BHP to invest $50m to advance Tanzania nickel project

BHP Group would make an investment of $40 million to develop a nickel project in Tanzania, Kabanga Nickel said on Monday, and $10 million for cleaner production technology, as the global miner, seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

BHP will invest $40 million in privately-owned Kabanga Nickel, which is developing the nickel project, and $10 million in Lifezone Ltd, whose ore refining technology is considered more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.

BHP’s investment in UK-based Kabanga will give it an 8.9% stake once approvals and conditions are met, Kabanga said in a statement.

BHP has the option to invest a further $50 million to raise its stake to 17.8%, which would then value the project at $658 million.

The investment comes as global miners race to reduce emissions from their projects and gather supply of metals such as nickel, which are a key component of electric vehicles.


Indonesia revokes more than 2,000 mining and plantation permits

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday (Jan 6) more than 2,000 mining, plantation and forest-use permits have been revoked due to non-compliance or because they had been unused, tightening oversight of the nation’s natural resources.

Jokowi, as the president is known, said in a broadcast the action was taken to improve governance and transparency in the rich natural resources sector.

The permits revoked include 1,776 in metals and minerals mining, 302 in coal mining, as well as in forestry and plantations that cover more than three million hectares of land, spread across the archipelago.

“Permits that are not used, not productive, transferred to other parties and those that do not fit the required purposes are revoked,” Jokowi said.

The president did not disclose any of the holders of the permits.

The government will offer a chance for farmers and civil society organisations to manage some of the assets by partnering with companies, he said, adding that the country will be open to “investors that are credible.”


Peru sees 60% increase in mining tax revenues

The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) issued a report stating that regional and local governments saw an aggregate 60% increase in mining tax revenues in 2021.

According to the ministry, proceeds from the mining canon, legal and contractual mining royalties, rights to operate and penalties added up to $1677 billion last year, up from the $1000 billion registered in 2020.

“It should be noted that, during the last months of the past year, an annual historical record had already been reached in the amount transferred for these concepts. This supports the continuity of regional economic activities and the fight against the covid-19 pandemic,” the dossier reads.

The MINEM pointed out that mining canon transfers were among the top performers in 2021, as the Peruvian state received over $746,226 billion, a 12.5% increase from the $663,000 billion received in 2020. These funds are regularly distributed among regional governments to be used in health and education infrastructure projects.

Mining royalties, on the other hand, generated over $858,000 billion, a 165% increase from 2020 figures.

The ministry’s data show that the growth in revenues from mining royalties was due to higher metal prices and increased production, which boosted companies’ profits and, subsequently, their royalty payments.


Electric cars to account for 73% of lithium demand by 2030: Chile

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SQM’s evaporation pools in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The electric vehicle (EV) industry will dominate demand for lithium in the coming years, Chilean copper agency Cochilco said this week, accounting for almost three quarters of the battery metal’s consumption by 2030, up from 41% in 2020.

According to the industry body, lithium hydroxide will take the leading role, reaching 56% of the total consumption versus 44% for carbonate by the end of the decade. This switch can be mainly explained by manufacturers’ growing preference for nickel-intensive cathodes, which tend to favour the use of hydroxide over carbonate, Cochilco said.



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